Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said today that the United States is Iran’s “number one enemy” and lashed out at President Donald Trump for calling his country a “terrorist nation.” He also stressed that Tehran will defy U.S. pressure and not give more concessions to Washington. “This ignorant comment shows that the Americans are not only the enemy of the leadership and the government of Iran, but are also hostile to the very existence of this nation that tirelessly stand up against them,” Khamenei said addressing thousands of students on the eve of the National Day in the Fight against Global Arrogance. The supreme leader also urged the Rouhani government not to show weakness in dealing with the United States. “Appeasement toward the Americans emboldens them. Therefore, the only path is to resist and confront them,” he stressed. . “Lessons from history, including the scenario of Dr. Mossadegh, show that the Americans do not have mercy for even those who trust them.” Mohammad Mossadegh was the democratically-elected prime minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953, when his government was toppled by a coup assisted by the American and British intelligence agencies.
Comment: As the Trump administration is ratcheting up economic sanctions on Iran and is trying to drive a wedge between the Iranian government and people, Iranian leaders are increasingly playing the nationalism card to rally the people around the flag. Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, and Iranian military leaders frequently tell the Iranian people that America is not their friend – reminding them that President Trump recently included Iran in the travel ban, imposed new sanctions on Iran despite the nuclear agreement, renamed the Persian Gulf as the Arabian Gulf, and called Iran a “terrorist nation.”
In today’s speech, Khamenei is also reminding the Iranian people that the U.S. government conspired against Iran’s democratically-elected government in the 1950s although Mossadegh, as he claimed, was reaching out to Washington for help. However, what the supreme leader does not tell the Iranian people is that Iranian clerics also played a role in overthrowing the Mossadegh government – as shown in declassified CIA documents released earlier this year.
The National Day in the Fight against Global Arrogance – also known as the Student Day in Iran – marks the seizure of the American embassy. In 1979, Iranian militant students stormed the embassy and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days after Washington refused to expel Iran’s deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Since then, Iranian hardliners every year stage protest rallies to voice support for the Islamic Revolution and denounce the United States. Marchers often chant “Death to America”, “Death to Israel” slogans, and burn the American flag in front of the former US embassy compound, called by Iranian leaders “Den of Espionage.” Iran will mark the day this year on Saturday.